Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Children's Art Carnival at the Art Barge

On August 31, I visited the Art Barge located in Amagansett, NY at the end of Long Island. It felt like a pilgrimage of sorts to find this beautiful outpost dedicated to artmaking and education. I traveled to see the Children's Art Carnival in action. The Art Carnival was developed by Victor D'Amico for the Museum of Modern Art in 1942; it was held at the MOMA and also traveled to Italy, Japan, and Spain. The concept combined a room of motivational "toys" for children to manipulate to explore shape, color, line, and form, followed by studio time with stations set up for painting, collage, sculpting with clay, and creating mobiles.
Victor and Mabel D'Amico founded the Art Barge and the studio continues their legacy of innovative art education and a dedication to learning. In recent years, the Art Barge has recreated the concept of the Children's Art Carnival and I was eager to see it in action.

Colored gels on the windows demonstrate color mixing and show another way to appreciate the great view.
In the motivation room, this velcro shape felt board, allows children to explore shape, color and practice creating compositions.

Here elastic string over a peg board created a series of parallel lines. Children created designs by placing pegs and stretching the string over them, creating interesting angles and intersections of lines. This line exploration was popular in the motivation room.

Moving into the studio, this mobile making station provides a frame above to hang works in progress with a variety of materials for twisting, tying and hanging to create interesting sculptures. Seashells seemed fitting for the setting.

The classic paint set-up D'Amico suggested for students included caster cups with red, blue, yellow, white and black paint, a cup for water and a sponge to dab the brush. Here the child has mixed pink in her white and is painting on a piece of glass to make a monoprint.
Thank you to Thomas and Wesley for showing me around and allowing me to visit their afternoon class.

The balcony and view outside the Children's Studio and the motivation room for the Art Carnival.
Thank you to Art Barge Director, Christopher Kohan for showing me around and sharing so many wonderful stories of the Art Carnival and his work with Victor and Mabel D'Amico.
Coming soon...a visit to the D'Amico home and studio.


  1. Wow sounds like a wonderful place to "play" and explore. I wish the pictures had been a little bigger. Was especially interested in the mobile center. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Fantastic post. this can be my personal very first holiday to your site. Thanks for posting a great write-up.

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